Tag Archives: parent
If you are at the point in your relationship with the narcissist in your life where you are ready to go no contact, I truly wish you the best. It’s not an easy decision to make, so it shows you have courage & strength just to make the decision. You’ll need it to follow through with it.
So many people that write about narcissistic abuse make it sound like it’s all so simple. “Just” cut the abuser out of your life & all will be fine from now on. Unfortunately, that is very far from true!
The narcissist may not respect your decision. Narcissists don’t respect boundaries, so why would they respect this one? They think they alone should decide what happens in relationships, & if the other person in the relationship makes any decisions like setting boundaries, that person is wrong. They often do things like constantly trying to contact you via phone, email, text or social media. They sometimes say they want to know what’s wrong, but truth be told, they only want to tell you why you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. They also may say they’re sorry. Listen to the apology if one is offered. Most likely it’ll be a fake apology designed to pacify you & lure you back into the relationship. Something like “I’m sorry if I hurt you” “I’m sorry you feel that way” or lame excuses for their behavior. A genuine apology offers no excuses, genuinely admits to wrongdoings & behavior changes. Use your discernment & what you have learned about narcissism so you don’t fall for the act & apology!
Granted, most narcissists smear their victims behind their back for years in order to discredit the victim (in case the victim tells others of the abuse, she won’t be believed), but it gets worse once you initiate no contact. The narcissist will tell anyone who will listen about how mean you are, how you hurt her, how she doesn’t understand why you’d behave this way & more. This is basically damage control- if the narcissist can convince others you are mentally unbalanced or even just a bad person somehow, others will believe the narcissist’s version of events over yours. The narcissist’s reputation then will remain in tact while yours is in shreds. As counter productive as it may sound, refuse to defend yourself. Any self defense will be construed as you being just as awful as the narcissist said you are. Sadly, you still will lose friends & family, but if they blindly believe a narcissist, you truly are better off without them. People who truly love you won’t believe the narcissist’s lies.
Do not feed the flying monkeys! If the narcissist can’t reach you because you have blocked their access to you, they will send flying monkeys. It’s a given. They are going to come out of the woodwork & tell you how sorry the narcissist is, they didn’t mean to hurt you, they were just trying to help, she had a bad childhood so she didn’t know any better & a plethora of other lame excuses why it’s OK that the narcissist abused you. They are convinced the narcissist is right & you’re wrong & they don’t want to be bothered with the truth, so don’t waste your breath telling them the truth. Their loyalty to narcissists knows no bounds. Ignore the flying monkeys! If you can, avoid them or sever ties with them. If you can’t, refuse to discuss the narcissist or anything about the narcissist with them. Tell them the topic isn’t something you’re willing to discuss with them. Change the subject. Repeatedly. Be rude if you must. Hang up the phone or walk away. Repeat as often as necessary.
Stand strong in the truth. You know what happened. You know what the narcissist is capable of. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Write down everything you can think of, so that way if you feel any doubts, you can read over your experiences to remind you of what made you come to this difficult decision.
Work on healing. When there is a narcissist in your life, it’s nearly impossible to heal because they take up so much time, energy & thought. Once they are no longer in your life, that is gone. It’s a huge relief! It also means your mind has more time, energy & thoughts it can devote to your healing from the abuse. In fact, it may not give you a choice. I found that some time after being no contact with my narcissistic parents, I started having more intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares than usual. Thankfully, it didn’t last forever & they calmed down after a while. During prayer, God told me it was because I no longer had to function in survival mode. My brain needed to heal from so much & hadn’t been able to do it for a long time. It was like it was forcing me to face things so it could feel better. I figured if these things were happening, I might as well use them to my advantage. The more you heal from things, the less intrusive thoughts, nightmares & flashbacks you have about them & they eventually can disappear
Most of all, pray. People can be a great support of course, but not everyone understands your suffering. God, however, does. He will help you to cope & to heal as well as comfort you when you’re hurting if you let Him. All you have to do is ask.
Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn early in life to be invisible. Stay out of everyone’s way. Don’t bother anyone with your “petty” needs or problems. After all, your parents are the important ones, not you. You are there to attend to their needs, not them to yours. They have drilled these so-called facts into your head from birth, so you know them well.
Being invisible is not only a way of life, but a handy survival tool in that type of environment. The less your narcissistic parents notice you, the less likely they’ll use or abuse you. Staying quiet & out of their way can make your childhood somewhat easier.
While being invisible can serve you well while in such a toxic environment, it is no longer necessary once you are out of it. In fact, it won’t help you at all & may hurt you instead.
If you continue to remain invisible, people may not necessarily abuse you, but they also will not be there for you or love you as you need, because they will not notice you. Or, if they do notice you, your needs won’t be very important to them because they don’t appear important to you. Not discussing your needs makes people not even realize you have them.
Dear Reader, if this is you, it’s your time to become visible! Let people know you exist. It is perfectly OK to have needs & wants, & to let those be known among those close to you. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. In normal, healthy relationships, both parties have needs & let each other know what they are with the expectation that when possible, the other person will fulfill them. God has created people to need one another, after all. He obviously knows best, so why not try living life His way?
Narcissists are the most superficial bunch of people you can imagine. Everything about them is a charade, right down to their apologies.
On the rare occasion they do apologize, there isn’t one sincere thing about it. Maybe they say the right words, but I can assure you, there is nothing sincere about apologies coming from a narcissist.
If you’re wondering how you can be sure whether or not the narcissist in your life truly means their apology, I am going to list some differences below between a sincere apology & a narcissistic apology.
- Sincere apologies always include accepting responsibility for the wrong that was done & don’t shift blame. Narcissists may say they are sorry for what they did, but then they make an excuse for it. “I’m sorry I said that, but I wouldn’t have said it if you wouldn’t have done….” Or, they may even deny doing what they did entirely, making you feel like you’re crazy.
- If the behavior doesn’t change, the apology isn’t sincere. People who truly are sorry for hurting another person do their best never to repeat that behavior. Insincere apologies may sound sincere sometimes, but the fact the offending person’s behavior didn’t change is a big clue that they didn’t mean their apology.
- Insincere apologies are passive/aggressive. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong.” While the words “I’m sorry” are being said, it’s clear the person saying such things doesn’t believe they have done something wrong. The person is angry about being called out on their behavior, & will apologize just to shut you up.
- Insincere apologies are vague, rather than specific. Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I cheated on you,” a narcissist may say, “I know I’ve made some mistakes in our marriage.”
- Sometimes apologies can be used to hurt you. My mother once told me she realized she made a lot of mistakes while raising me. I thought maybe she realized what she did to me & wanted to apologize for it. She sounded so sincere. Instead, she continued by saying “Obviously I made mistakes. Just look at how you turned out.” She guaranteed I would pay attention by sounding sincere & by what she said. Once she had my full attention, she dropped that cruel bomb on me.
- Sincere apologies acknowledge the pain that was caused, while insincere ones ignore it. Using the cheating spouse example again, a sincere apology would be something like, “I’m sorry I cheated on you. I know doing that has devastated you. I’m so sorry..it was wrong & it’ll never happen again, I promise.” Narcissists lack empathy, so your pain that they caused is one of two things- not even a blip on their radar because they didn’t think of you in the slightest, or your pain is something they enjoyed causing you.
- A narcissist expects you to accept their apology once they say it, then drop the topic forever. Narcissists don’t want to discuss what happened. In their minds, saying they’re sorry (no matter how insincerely it’s said) once is good enough. They said that, so you should be over it & never bring it up again.
- Narcissists love to make the victim feel that they should forgive & forget. If you’re a Christian, have been wronged or abused by a narcissist & they apologize to you, chances are very good the narcissist will make you feel like you’re a terrible example of your faith if you don’t forgive & forget what was done to you. This apology can make you feel as bad or worse than the original offense.
- Some narcissists apologize for something they think you’re upset about in order to placate you. My father has done this. After my mother in-law passed away in 2016, my parents & I had a huge argument. My father later apologized to me for asking if my husband & I were still together during that argument. (He kept trying to deflect me off the topic). Granted, it wasn’t a good thing to ask, but it also wasn’t the reason I was so angry with him. I told him that & explained exactly why I was angry. He looked at me like a deer in the headlights. Clearly, he couldn’t understand why I’d be upset that he & my mother wanted to “pay their respects” to someone who had been so cruel & abusive to me. Also, it was obvious he thought that all should be fine- he apologized. Never mind the fact what he apologized for wasn’t the thing he should have apologized for.
Dear Reader, please keep these actions in mind when you must deal with a narcissist. Remembering them will help you not to buy their insincere apology. You don’t need that aggravation! If you fall for their apology, they’ll see you as someone they can manipulate & do so more & more. Who needs that?! You don’t! And, you deserve to be treated better than that.
Remember my recent post about my father? Last Monday, October 23, my father passed away.
I didn’t visit him once in the hospital. As I’ve said before, no contact means no contact, no matter what. It’s been very hard though. I wished I could’ve said goodbye, but I knew not doing so was my only option. Every time I doubted & asked God if I should go, not only would He tell me no, signs came out of everywhere telling me not to go. It was pretty incredible! He told me mentally & physically, I couldn’t take it. The stress as well as the vicious people involved would be too much for my mental & physical health. Even so, staying away was still hard. Apparently it bothered others as well judging by the many hateful messages I’ve gotten from people who don’t even know me. Little did I know that more was happening, & staying away truly was the right thing to do in many ways, not just for myself.
I’ll discuss it in more detail in the next post, but I received a word of knowledge that my father was born again at the very end of his life. Me staying away was a part of why that happened, because it meant my father finally cried out to God.
The reason I’m telling you this, Dear Reader, is not only to give you an update, but also to let you know that God is truly good & faithful. If you know in your heart He wants you to do or not to do something, listen to it! Even if you don’t understand why, know He has a very good reason. Don’t cave into pressure from anyone! They don’t know your situation because they haven’t lived it- why would their input have any value? They also aren’t you, so even if they know your situation, they would handle it differently because you two are different people. They don’t know your heart & mind well enough to know what is best for you. God, however, does. Listen to & trust Him & only Him! He is well worth listening to & trusting!
Also, never give up praying for someone. You may not see them give their life to Jesus, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. It happened with my father one hour before he died, while comatose. If that was possible, isn’t anything possible? After all, Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (KJV)
Many of us raised by narcissistic parents have similar experiences. One experience so many of us share is being told we need to fix things. We need to find out what works & repair the damaged relationship with our narcissistic parent.
Maybe because so many people have such a warped view of the parent/child relationship they think the children should be the ones to fix it when there is a problem. Or, maybe it’s simply because people realize that we are the reasonable, sane ones & the narcissist isn’t, they think we should fix it. Either way, the expectation is absolutely absurd.
The simple fact is that one person can’t fix a relationship. It takes two people to make a relationship work, not one, especially when one person in the relationship is a narcissist.
Narcissists are unlike normal people in many ways. One of which is they do not have the capacity to care what others think or feel. All they want is what matters, period. Healthy relationships require both people to actively work on it & consider what the other person’s needs are. That will NOT happen in a relationship with a narcissist no matter how much you might want it to.
The only way to have any success in a relationship with a narcissist is to completely forget yourself & focus on them completely. Ignore any wants, needs, thoughts or feelings you have & keep the narcissist as your top priority 100% of the time. Even this success will be fleeting, however, because narcissists constantly change the rules. What makes them happy today may not make them happy next week, then three weeks later, that thing makes them happy again. I have tried this personally in my younger & more dysfunctional days, & can tell you that every word I write is true. No matter how much you give or how you change to please the narcissist, it won’t work. Nothing is ever good enough. It is absolutely impossible to please a narcissist.
So, Dear Reader, the next time someone tells you that you need to fix the relationship with your narcissistic parent, please remember what I have said. Chalk their foolish words up to a lack of wisdom. They clearly have no idea what they are saying, & how impossible the task is. Or, if they are a flying monkey for the narcissist, & they do know how she is, they are abusers themselves. Abuse isn’t always about actively abusing someone- it can be more passive, such as encouraging a person to stay in an abusive relationship.
Narcissists love to put their issues on other people rather than face them. Shame is a big one- any shame a narcissistic parent feels is going to be thrust upon their child, for example.
After a lifetime of not even realizing I was carrying around my mother’s shame, it finally hit me in 2015. As I was recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning, I felt horrible for asking my husband to help me in any way. I’d nearly died for pity’s sake! Carbon monoxide poisoning has a high fatality rate & also has a very long recovery time (you do the bulk of your healing 9-12 months after poisoning) during which chances are very good you won’t heal completely. Yet in spite of all of this, I felt horrible for asking my husband for any help. After praying about it, God showed me this was all about shame. It’s very common for those abused as children to experience toxic shame, & I was no exception.
One way God showed me to deal with this shame is to imagine myself holding a big box containing shame, handing it off to my mother while telling her “I refuse to carry this for you a moment longer”, then walking away.
It sounds silly, but this was very helpful for me. Even though I can’t physically give my mother back her shame that she’s put on me, by imagining returning it to her, at least I was able to stop carrying it somehow. It’d be the same as a real scenario if she wouldn’t hold the box. If I placed it at her feet, I wouldn’t be carrying it any longer. What she would do at that point would have no effect on that fact.
I can’t say I am 100% cured of this toxic shame, but it drastically improved my problem. I no longer feel incredibly guilty about writing about my experiences or asking my husband for things (either stuff or help), & these used to be very big issues for me. I still fight the guilt with my husband sometimes, but that’s better than every single time.
Have you ever tried something like this, Dear Reader? It doesn’t have to be shame.. it can be anything your narcissistic parent put on you- self-hatred, eating disorders, believing you’re ugly or stupid. Obviously I can’t guarantee it’ll cure you immediately, but I do believe it’d help you as it helped me. It’s worth a try, right?
Lately, I’ve been having a problem. I’ve been doubting myself. A LOT. Am I really doing God’s will by writing about narcissism? Am I even writing the things He wants me to write about? Is my information accurate? Am I wrong for being no contact with my parents, even though I know beyond a doubt that relationship would’ve killed me from stress?
God taught me some interesting things while praying about all of this. I think what He taught me can help at least some of you too.
For one thing, this doubt is normal under the circumstances. As God reminded me, I’ve had a lifetime of my parents force-feeding me their views & allowing me no room for freedom of my own. Even fighting it & forming my own, their views will still pop up sometimes, but it will stop in time. Doubting what I write about is normal since my mother used to scream about how I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry” every time she even suspected I was talking about her abuse. No doubt you’ve been through something similar with your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader. When you find you doubt yourself, that may be what’s happening to you too. You can’t expect a lifetime of programming to vanish quickly. It takes a while! I’ve noticed it happens much less frequently with me than it did even a year ago. I can’t say I’m delivered from self doubt, but I know I’m well on my way.
I also learned that if you ask God to send you confirmations, He doesn’t mess around! lol A couple of days ago, I asked Him to show me if I’m on the right track, & it’s been interesting since! At first, it was a ton of memes on Facebook that spoke directly to me. Then, my father called.. six times in two minutes to be precise. (I didn’t answer of course. My call block lets blocked numbers ring once, then it hangs up on them, which is only long enough for the number to register on the caller ID. That’s how I knew he called). It hit me how that is just like him- he wants to talk to me so that is all that matters to him. The fact I have no desire to talk to him doesn’t matter- only his wants matter. This sort of thing has happened so many times prior to me going no contact. He’d call repeatedly when I wasn’t home or was very busy, & when we later spoke, he was upset I didn’t answer his call. Not being home wasn’t a good enough excuse & neither was having a life. Thinking of this was all good for me to remind me why I’m no contact!
Then, I got a wonderful note telling me how much my work has changed someone’s life. That was an incredible blessing! I do what I do to help people, & hearing that because of my writing, someone’s life was drastically improved made my day! Well, more like month! It was also a good confirmation that I’m doing God’s will.
The icing on the cake however was this Scripture that God brought to my attention this morning. Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV) It was such a wonderful reminder that my pain wasn’t in vain- that God can use even the worst & most painful circumstances for good. Joseph spoke these words to his brothers. If all he suffered could count for something, our pain can as well!
Aside from bragging about the goodness of God, I wanted to share this with you to encourage you, Dear Reader. I know first hand how hard it can be sometimes when self doubts kick in. It can make you feel wrong, bad or even crazy. I want to encourage you to do as I did- talk to God about it. He is so patient & loving, wanting to help & encourage you when you need it! Look at all He did for me when all I did was ask for a little help! Pretty cool stuff, I think! He can & will do the same for you!
There are two types of narcissistic mothers- ignoring & engulfing.
As the name implies. the ignoring narcissistic mother ignores her child. The child’s interests, needs, & feelings mean virtually nothing to the mother. She may meet her child’s basic needs for food, clothing & shelter, but it is done grudgingly. Other needs such as teaching & nurturing aren’t met. The ignoring narcissistic mother simply doesn’t want to be bothered with her child.
Engulfing narcissistic mothers are the polar opposites of ignoring narcissistic mothers. They are deeply involved in every aspect of their child’s life. They control how their child dresses, the child’s interests & even friendships (if friends are allowed, that is). Engulfing narcissistic mothers see their child as an extension of themselves, so they do their best to mold them into what they want the child to be. What their child wants is of absolutely no importance. This is the type of mother I grew up with. I wasn’t allowed to choose my own clothes even in high school- my mother had to approve everything. I wasn’t allowed to spend time away from her other than at school or work, & even then, she would often spend my lunch hours with me during my last two years of high school. Everything about me was scrutinized & criticized.
Both ignoring & engulfing narcissistic mothers also get upset as their children get complements. Narcissists are known for being incredibly envious, especially when it comes to their children. When their child is complemented, they will tell the child the person was lying or reasons why the complement was wrong. Narcissistic parents do NOT want their children to feel good about themselves even for a moment. The worse a child’s self-esteem, the easier that child is to control.
Once the child of an engulfing narcissistic mother gets older, big problems really begin. As a child grows up & naturally becomes more independent, narcissistic mothers take this as a betrayal. They want their children to stay young & obedient forever. Growing up is unacceptable, & narcissistic mothers often act like their child is doing it simply to hurt them. Ignoring narcissistic mothers seem to be more relieved that their child is no longer their responsibility anymore, although some do get angry their child is becoming an adult & harder to control.
Once the child becomes an adult, engulfing narcissistic mothers continue to try to be engulfing. They try to monopolize their adult child’s time, even if the child has a spouse & kids. They demand their child spend holidays, birthdays & special occasions with them. They demand their child frequently visit them.
Ignoring narcissistic mothers often carry their lack of interest in their child into the child’s adulthood. They often even show little to no interest in their grandchildren. Or, they may show some interest in them until the grandchild is old enough to start forming her own likes, dislikes, opinions & personality.
Interestingly, often narcissistic mothers swing back & forth between ignoring & engulfing. This is especially confusing for their child because of the very mixed signals they send.
Both types of narcissistic mothers create a great deal of pain for their children. My mother was an engulfing mother & her mother was ignoring. She used to tell me how she always knew her mother never wanted her, from the moment she found out she was pregnant with my mother. She worked her entire life trying to gain her mother’s approval, which never happened. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Yet, my mother went on to go in the complete opposite direction with me, which caused me awful anxiety, low self-esteem, C-PTSD & more that I still live with even in my mid 40’s.
Whichever type of narcissistic mother you had, I hope this post reminds you that she was the problem, not you. Nothing you did or didn’t do could have made her treat you as she did. xoxo
A common criticism from narcissistic parents to their children is calling them lazy. I can’t count how many adult children of narcissists have said their parent constantly called them lazy. I’m also one of them. These parents don’t allow their children to rest when sick or simply relax after a long day without criticisms.
While being called lazy & not being allowed to rest & relax doesn’t really sound like a big deal, it actually is.
Being treated this way is surprisingly damaging to a child. It can cause a child to carry a tremendous amount of guilt & even shame until the child dumps the dysfunctional false belief put on her. Many so called lazy kids show the following characteristics that stem from being called lazy…
- Feeling as if you never should rest or relax.
- Feeling intense guilt &/or shame if you need to rest, such as when sick or injured. Along those lines- resuming activities quickly, not giving your body time to recover.
- Feeling unappreciated.
- Feeling as if you never can do enough.
- Developing OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), & being fanatical about cleaning your home or doing your job.
- Going in the opposite direction from OCD & being extremely messy.
If any of this sounds familiar, then it’s time to make some changes.
I have found that looking objectively at myself was a good place to start. I looked at what I do & realized I do quite a bit. Granted, in the past few years, my health has forced me to streamline my routine so I don’t do as much at a time as I once did, but I still do quite a bit.
I also looked at my mother objectively. She is rather lazy. She’s never been one to keep her home spotless. Since marrying my father she put him in charge of not only maintaining her car but cleaning it as well. She doesn’t cook often & never has. She hasn’t held a job since before getting married, other than a part time job for a week or two in 1989. This tells me that her calling me lazy was simply projection rather than fact. (Projection is when a person behaves in a certain way, then accuses another of being that way when they truly aren’t. It allows the accuser to get mad about the flaw without taking responsibility for it. It’s a very common tool used by narcissists.)
I began to tell myself I’m not lazy. I believe in working smarter not harder, but that isn’t a bad thing. It was starting to sink in, until I got sick in 2015 with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. It took every ounce of energy out of me for months on end, & I felt like the laziest human on the planet since all I could do was lay around. As I lay there recovering, I watched a lot of TV. One evening, out of the blue, God spoke to my heart & told me why He allowed me to get sick. One of the reasons was I needed to rest more. In spite of starting to realize I wasn’t lazy, I still pushed myself too hard. Now I have to rest sometimes- my body just can’t work as hard as it once did. He said if I continued pushing myself too much, it would kill me eventually. It had to stop.
I can’t believe I’m the only person God would do this too, so I’m including it as a warning to you, Dear Reader. If you are that typical adult child of a narcissistic parent who pushes yourself too hard, it’s time to stop. If you don’t, what’s to say God won’t allow something to happen to you that causes you to need to rest? It’s much better to rest on your own terms! Try what I did- look at your situation objectively & you’ll see you aren’t lazy, & there is nothing wrong with resting & relaxing! You also deserve to have joy in your life, & how can you do that if you work non stop? Take better care of yourself, Dear Reader! You deserve it!
Children need to believe that their parents love them. Normally, this is a very good thing, since most parents do love their children. When the child’s parent is a narcissist, however, this is NOT a good thing!
Because of this need, abused children will make excuses for their parent abusing them. I did – I told myself my mother loved me which is why she was “overprotective” rather than admitting she controlled my every move.
Children also will come up with reasons why the abuse was their fault, not the parent’s, taking all the blame while the parent gets away with abusing the child. The child will think that she needs to get better grades in school, be better behaved, etc. to please the parent, so the parent doesn’t have to abuse her anymore. Children don’t realize that narcissists are impossible to please, & will abuse their child even if the child is 100% perfect.
Some parents are actively abusive – they mentally, physically &/or sexually abuse their child – while others are more passive in their abuse, standing by quietly while the other parent obviously abuses the child. Passive abusers also do not care about the child’s pain, & often will turn the active abuser onto the child if that person is mad at the passive abuser, simply to distract them. If a child has one actively abusive parent & one passively abusive one, the need to believe that her parents love her will cloud her discernment greatly. Even if she comes to realize that the actively abusive parent is abusive, it will take much longer to realize the passively abusive one is equally abusive. The desperation to believe that at least one parent loves her will make the child think that the passive abusive parent loves her because at least that parent isn’t verbally, physically or sexually abusing her. The child also may make excuses for that parent, saying that parent just didn’t know what to do or had no power to stop the abuse. In fact, the child may feel pity for that parent, offering comfort after the child has been abused. This happened with my father. My mother would abuse me, & my father would tell me how he couldn’t do anything to stop it, & how hard it was for him knowing how mean she was to me. I would comfort him rather than him comforting & protecting me.
This need to believe parents love their children can cause many problems for adult children of narcissists, as you can see. So I urge you today, Dear Reader, to look at your situation. Are you harboring any beliefs that stem from that need? Are you making excuses for your parent(s) because you think it’s easier than admitting your narcissistic parent never loved you? If so, you’re only hurting yourself.
John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV) This Scripture is absolutely true! As difficult as facing the truth about your parents is, it is worth it. Clinging to the childish belief that your parent loves you only hurts you. It’s a domino effect of dysfunction, really. You make more & more excuses for your parent’s abuse because you want to believe she loves you. This only serves to keep you tolerating more & more abuse. Facing the truth is the only thing that will set you free.
Admitting that your narcissistic parent doesn’t love you & never has is painful. I understand this all too well. It causes you to grieve your loss of not having a loving parent. However, doing so will enable you to see things much more clearly & objectively, which helps you to find ways to become healthier. You’ll be able to think more about ways to set & enforce healthy boundaries instead of tolerating abuse so you don’t hurt your parent’s feelings. You may limit your contact with your parent or go full no contact with that parent because you realize that your parent only wants you in her life to provide her with narcissistic supply, & you deserve better than that.
I know admitting your parent doesn’t love you is painful, but I can promise you that it is well worth the pain. And, it’s much less painful than clinging to that false belief!
Last night, I had two extremely vivid nightmares about my parents. I woke up anxious & afraid from both, but especially the second one.
I got to thinking & praying about the dreams, I realized they showed me something. It is incredibly hard to accept a covert narcissist parent as the evil, abuser that they are!
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a LOT of dreams about my father & when I prayed, God would tell me to pay attention to them- they are showing what he is really like, as He did when I asked about last night’s nightmares. Yet in spite of the many warnings, I was still shocked when he did certain things like calling the police twice on me for “welfare checks” after I stopped speaking to him, accused my husband of keeping me from him or sending several flying monkeys after me.
When you’ve been raised with an overt narcissist & a covert narcissist, it is hard to accept the covert narcissist is bad. After all, compared to the overt, the covert doesn’t seem so bad. The covert doesn’t scream at you or hit you or shred your self-esteem. Plus, it’s incredibly hard to accept that both of your parents didn’t love you. One is hard enough, but two? Incredibly painful. So, many people tell themselves that their covertly narcissistic parent isn’t so bad. Sure, that parent has flaws, but it could be worse, right?
I firmly believe covert narcissists are way worse than overts. At least with overt narcissists, you know where you stand & what they’re capable of. Not so with covert narcissists. Due to their subtlety, they can abuse so discreetly, a person doesn’t even realize it’s happening. They also give such a good appearance as a victim that on the off chance you recognize they’re behavior is abusive, you don’t have the heart to upset them by confronting them. They also love to appear naive & innocent. This makes you doubt they know what they’re doing is wrong. It also means if you tell people you both know, you won’t be believed. Covert narcissists also make you feel sorry for them, which is another guarantee that you will let them get away with anything they want to do.
If anyone meets my father, they get the impression he’s a simple country boy- laid back, good sense of humor & a pleasant person. And, now that he’s pushing 80 & has Alzheimer’s & other health problems, they also feel bad for him. They don’t realize the incredibly evil, twisted things he is capable of because they only see the way he presents himself. They don’t believe that when my mother abused me, he not only failed to protect me, he also turned the situation around so I would comfort him because he said he was upset she hurt me. They wouldn’t believe he expected me to apologize to him for breaking a wall when my mother threw me into it when I was 19. Yet, these things are absolutely true.
Dear Reader, if you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please pray about your situation. If you’re maintaining that relationship thinking that parent isn’t as bad as your overtly narcissistic one, you’re probably wrong. I thought that myself & I certainly was. It’s taken me a lot of painful events, & long time to see my father for the wicked narcissist he is. It took many nightmares & painful events to realize it. I would love to spare you the kind of pain that I have had to experience because I didn’t want to accept the truth, so please, please pray about your situation. Ask God to show you the truth about your parent, to enable you to handle it & what you should do about it.
Children of narcissistic parents often experience similar types of abuse when growing up. So many of us have spoken to others & said things like, “Yea!! My mother did that exact same thing!” Many of my readers have told me their stories & they sound oddly similar to my own. Their mothers told them they were crazy, fat, stupid, ugly, worthless, etc. They used similar gaslighting phrases to my mother’s, such as “I don’t remember it that way.” “You’re crazy!” “What is wrong with you?” The similarities are uncanny! In fact, I’ve often wondered if they all have some sort of secret narcissistic instruction manual since so many narcissists act very similar.
The abuse isn’t the only thing that’s similar about being raised by narcissistic parents. The damage done is oddly similar.
- Adult children of narcissists don’t know ourselves. At best, we know who our narcissistic parent told us we were.
- We have incredibly low self-esteem, often even believing we have no right to exist & take up space in this world.
- The low self-esteem makes us incredibly anxious, often terrified of asking people for something,
- We feel incredible amounts of toxic shame about every single thing about us.
- Many adult children of narcissistic parents struggle with issues with their weight. We were told constantly how fat or skinny we were growing up, so we began early in life to see our bodies through our narcissistic parent’s eyes rather than our own. This often leads to eating disorders or other issues with food.
- Boundaries? What are those? They must be for other people, certainly not for children of narcissistic parents!
- We’re exhausted constantly. A lifetime of narcissistic abuse makes people function in survival mode, always trying to put out the next fire as soon as it starts or, better yet, try to make sure the fire doesn’t start in the first place.
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or C-PTSD (Complex PTSD) is common. Being raised by at least one narcissistic parent is traumatic in so many ways, so many adult children are diagnosed with PTSD or C-PTSD.
- Physical problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis, aches & pains with no physical cause, & more.
Dear Reader, chances are you have experienced symptoms like this, probably more. Maybe it’s even what brought you to my blog today. If you are experiencing such things, then please know you aren’t crazy! You’re far from it in fact. You’re a normal person who has experienced extremely abnormal things, & had a normal reaction to them.
I can’t tell you today that the symptoms will all go away quickly, because they won’t. Prayer, love & support from those around you, counseling will help you get healthier. Prayer in particular is the most important thing you can do to help yourself. Remember, the Bible referred to Jesus as “The Great Physician” & “Wonderful Counselor”- who better to help you get through this? Also, the more you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the more it will help you to see that you were not the real problem, contrary to what you were told. You may need to go no contact for your healing to progress, or at the least go low contact. The more distance between you & your abusive parent, the better it is for your mental & physical health. You’ll gain clarity you can’t have when in their presence often. You also will stop functioning in survival mode, which will allow you to think of yourself for once rather than your parents.
The symptoms resulting from narcissistic abuse are nothing to take lightly. Take care of yourself. You deserve to be happy & healthy! xoxo
**DISCLAIMER: If, like many of my readers, you are in the unfortunate position of not being able to go no contact with your narcissistic parent, please do NOT think this article is aimed at you! It most certainly isn’t!! I’m sure many of you have been shamed enough & I am not trying to add to that shame by implying you’re weak or wrong or whatever for being in that position. Every situation is unique, & I won’t judge you. This post is aimed at those who have gone no contact, not you!**
Going no contact (or even low contact for that matter) with a narcissistic parent isn’t an easy thing to do. There is a tremendous amount of anger & grief at the abnormal, awful circumstances that bring a person to this decision. Then there is society & their warped views of no contact. Some people think you should cut someone out of your life (yes, even a parent) at the first sign of them disagreeing with you. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who think you’re a horrible person if you even entertain the idea of ending a relationship with your parent, no matter what. Many of those people also think you’re weak for “taking the easy way out”. That is the point I want to address today.
If you’re in the painful place of having gone no contact with your narcissistic parent, my heart breaks for you. I know the pain of this first hand & would tell anyone who thinks it’s easy or cowardly that they are completely, absolutely, 1,000% WRONG.
First of all, a relationship with an abusive parent is incredibly painful. Parents are supposed to love their children unconditionally, & realizing that not only do they not love us but are out to hurt & control us hurts! Really, really freaking hurts! How can anyone continue to subject themselves to that indefinitely? Every person has their limits.
Secondly, even considering how painful it is having an abusive parent, children naturally don’t want to end that relationship. It feels unnatural to end that relationship. How can it not?! That’s your mother or father, not some casual acquaintance.
Third, thinking about going no contact isn’t some easy decision like where to go for dinner. It takes a lot of prayer, thought, time, weighing your options, imagining scenarios.. it’s incredibly draining just to think about, let alone do it.
Lastly, once you are no contact, that doesn’t mean things are going to be easy. Without that narcissistic parent in your life, your emotions that you stifled so long just to survive the toxic relationship are probably going to come to the surface & demand you deal with them. That’s never fun! I’m going through it myself & I can tell you, quite frankly, it’s really rough! (It’s good in the fact I’m finally able to deal with stuff left untouched in so long, but it’s not fun to go through the process). There’s also the distinct possibility your narcissistic parent will send the flying monkeys after you to “talk some sense” into you by attempting to make you feel guilty for going no contact. After all, that parent won’t be around forever yanno! She’s getting older, & she is your mother yanno! Flying monkeys are always fun to deal with. (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic in that comment). Even more fun is the chance your narcissistic parent will attempt to contact you personally. There’s nothing quite like going along with your day, in a good mood, when you open your mailbox & see that parent’s handwriting. So much for that good mood. You can block that parent from emailing, calling, texting or on social media, but you can’t block postal mail.
So if anyone reading this thinks no contact is the cowardly thing to do, the easy route, think again. It’s far from it! Going no contact is actually a very brave, incredibly difficult thing to do.
Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” (AMP)
Consequences are a valuable thing. They teach people what is & is not acceptable behavior, what is safe & not safe & more. Many children of narcissistic parents are not taught this in a healthy way, however.
Narcissistic parents teach their children to take care of them, instead of the natural order of things, the parent caring for the child. One way they expect their children to take care of them is to interrupt the natural event of consequences for their actions.
- If the narcissistic parent hurts the child’s feelings, the child is to hold the pain inside rather than tell the parent how she feels to protect the parent’s feelings.
- The child should never set boundaries of any sort with her parent, so the parent is free to abuse anytime, any way she is so inclined.
- Most of all, the child never, ever should tell anyone about what her parent does to her. That way, no one thinks badly of the parent or gets her in any trouble for child abuse.
As the child of a narcissistic parent grows up, they get fed up with such nonsense, & rightfully so. It’s not fair this abusive, evil parent skates through life unscathed while her child suffers constantly.
If you’re in this place, Dear Reader, I want you to know that you have ever right to stop protecting your parent from the consequences of their actions. It’s Biblical to allow consequences to happen- just reread the above mentioned Scripture again if you don’t believe that. You have every right to set healthy boundaries & to tell your parent that her actions are not acceptable to you. In fact, you even have the right to go no contact with your parent if you are so inclined. Titus 3:10 says, “After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],” (AMP) Parents are not excluded from this Scripture, I believe, because God knows that sometimes, even a parent/child relationship comes down to needing that separation.
So Dear Reader, please don’t forget that your parent needs consequences for their actions. It is NOT your job to protect them from consequences. They need them if they are to have any chance of learning to behave better.
So many people are quick to defend abusive parents. They may say they did the best they could, or you should forgive & forget what they did to you since they were abused as children so they didn’t know any better. Others simply refuse to believe the abuse happened, accusing you of lying or exaggerating.
Why does this happen so often anyway?! I have some thoughts..
If you notice, people who came from truly loving, functional upbringings aren’t the ones doing this. They know what real, Godly love is, so this means they also know what it is not. When you tell them horror stories of the abuse you endured, they normally are shocked & horrified that a parent could treat their own child that way. Their parents never would have done such a thing to them, & they know that. They won’t make excuses for the abuse or try to normalize it. It’s wrong & they call it wrong. They offer you love & support because they know that is the right thing to do. They may not understand how you feel since they never endured such things, but even so, they empathize with you, & it hurts them you have been so mistreated. I have two friends that I’ve known since Kindergarten & first grade. One male, one female. Both were raised by loving mothers, she had a very kind wonderful father & the his father physically abused his mother. They have no personal experience with being abused narcissistic parents, yet they are very supportive & kind to me.
People who come from dysfunctional upbringings however act much differently. They are the ones who are quick to say, “But those are your parents! They won’t be around forever!” “I’m sure they did the best they could!” “They just don’t know any better!”
I can’t help but think this is because these people are triggered by your openness. You discussing your painful childhood makes them think of theirs, & they aren’t willing to face theirs at all. If they can shut you up, they can resume their denial of their own pain. For years, my husband thought I should try harder with my parents. Ignore their cruelty. He made excuses for what they did. At the same time, he was doing just that with his own abusive parents. It took him many years before he would say anything even remotely negative about his parents, let alone admit his parents were abusive.
Some people also may recognize their own behaviors when you describe the abuse you endured, & they don’t want to face that either. They may be abusing their child the same way you were abused, & don’t want to admit they are abusive or wrong. They like the control they have, & don’t want to lose it.
There are also others who can’t handle anything negative. These are the same people who expect every book & movie to have happy endings, & they want the same from real life. My mother is that way. She hates anything negative. These people don’t want to hear about your problems. They want to hear only about light, fluffy, happy topics, ignoring anything bad or negative. These people don’t seem to have good coping skills, so they avoid anything that is even mildly upsetting. You discussing your pain is upsetting, so they don’t want to hear about it. Unless you can share something light & happy with them, they don’t want you to talk about it with them.
Whatever the reason someone defends abusive parents, take it as a warning for you that this person is NOT safe to discuss your painful experiences with!